Spending so much time at home definitely has its pros and cons.
But the impact this period of lockdown is having on our mental health is something we need to keep an eye on.
With more than two-thirds of adults in the UK having reported feeling worried, stressed and bored as a result of the pandemic – according to research conducted by The Health Foundation – we need to start looking at ways to lift our mood as restrictions continue on.
Everything from social isolation to our new ways of working are having an effect on how we feel and act at the moment.
So, since most of us are in the house more often than not these days, we can look to simple solutions in the home that will help to boost our mood.
One thing you may not have thought about is how the colour of your walls can affect your mental health and even your productivity.
As a survey of 4,325 people conducted by central heating manufacturers Stelrad discovered, neutral colours such as whites, greys and creams are the go-to wall colours in the UK, particularly for home offices.
According to the survey, almost a third (31%) of all home offices were white, and nearly a quarter (23%) were grey.
It’s easy to see why: neutral colours are easy to coordinate with furniture and can help make your space feel bigger. But while these wall colours may seem practical and even calming, it turns out that they may not be the best choice.
Psychologist and Wellbeing Consultant Lee Chambers explains that rooms with plain walls can actually induce sad and depressive feelings, particularly in women.
It’s not as simple as just painting your walls a louder colour, though. As Lee points out: ‘Those that identified as male struggled for productivity in orange and purple spaces as they lowered mood.’
Another less than ideal colour is red, which the research has found to be one of the least popular colours to paint a room. Lee says: ‘Red naturally draws the eye and is often the colour of emergency objects for a reason. For a home office, then, red can very easily become overstimulating, causing us to lose focus and concentration, and gradually feel volatile, increasing the potential for mistakes or conflict.’
But red walls do have some pretty notable benefits, too. You see, ‘red is a powerful, vibrant colour, and is very situational in its use for productivity gains.’
‘Studies have found the emotive and passion fire of red raises blood flow and heart rate. This is great for physical tasks, like a little natural energy bar.’
Ideal for a home gym, then, but not necessarily for a home office.
So what colours are good for things like workday productivity and overall wellbeing?
Well, according to Lee, blues are a great choice, because ‘blue is renowned as the colour of productivity.’
‘Blue promotes calm, concentration and emotional balance that keeps you in a state of flow.’
However, you have to take the good with the bad, as ‘too much blue can leave you a little too relaxed and blunt your innovative streak. So, consider adding some warm colour accents.’
Another good colour to consider is green. As Lee explains: ‘Being the colour of serenity and growth, green causes less eye fatigue, which helps longer-term focus and attention.’
In fact, its calming effects are similar to that of blue. And although Lee does admit that it is less beneficial for productivity than blue walls might be, it is better for your general wellbeing.
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